Picture perfect

Gorse Hill set the scene for Michelle and Brendan's relaxed, vintage-inspired celebration

Michelle and Brendan met eight years ago through mutual friends, and enjoyed a romantic meal for their first date. “It went so well, we didn't stop chatting all evening,” recalls Michelle. “Seven years later, Brendan proposed at Virgina Water on the edge of Windsor Park, Runnymede, on a bench in front of the lake. It's one of our favourite places but I had no idea it was coming! It was a lovely surprise and of course, I said 'yes'.”

After a year of planning, their vintage-themed, relaxed wedding came together. Here, Michelle tells us all about it...

Picture perfect: Image 1
Gorse Hill was the perfect place for our reception: it has the most beautiful grounds and the house is stunning with an intimate feel.


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I had a mixture of burgundy and ivory flowers in my bouquet.


Picture perfect: Image 3aI tried on eight dresses before finding the one. It was a beautiful lace design from Chobham Bride in Woking. Louise, the assistant there, was so helpful at selecting gowns to suit my frame.

Picture perfect: Image 3 We made our own 'love' tea bags for favours


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Brendan's best friend from school, Charlie, was best man and his friend Philip and cousin Ryan were ushers. Brendan wore an ivory waistcoat and cravat, while the groomsmen wore contrasting accessories.


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We used candles and rose petals to decorate the venue and tables, along with candelabra adorned with roses for the centrepieces. Lighting the candles in the evening created a lovely, twinkly atmosphere.


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We had collages of family photos on easels and a sweetie table for guests. We loved having the pictures displayed, especially as some of them were of loved ones who are no longer with us. The retro-style sweets in jars, complete with striped paper bags and sweetie scoops.


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Hair and make-up artist Amy Lacey, of BeDazzling, created my elegant bridal look. I loved my flawless make-up and vintage-inspired hairstyle, which Amy recreated from a picture.


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I travelled to the wedding with my dad in a vintage car we'd hired – it was an exciting moment for both of us.


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My sister Hayley and Brendan's sisters, Amy and Claire, were my bridesmaids. They wore burgundy dresses which they loved.


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A string quartet played at the church and outside at the reception and as a surprise for our guests, Brendan and I learnt a routine for our first dance. It was an amazing evening and our DJ ensured guests danced the night away.


Picture perfect: Image 11aWe met our photographer, Amanda Duncan, at a wedding fair. Her photos were stunning, and she's such a warm and friendly person too. The snaps are full of laughter and she really captured the happiness of our day.

Picture perfect: Image 11 We loved our first dance – it was a magical moment.


Picture perfect: Image 12aThe cake was stunning and created by a friend. It had tiny, iced floral detailing and a group of flowers on the top and looked simple yet elegant.

Picture perfect: Image 12 Michelle's top tips
♥ Take time out on the day as husband and wife to look around and see what you've worked so hard for.
♥ When you're it the middle of planning, try to remember that everything will fall into place.
♥ Keep a plate of food from the buffet to have when the evening has come to an end, as you probably won't have time to eat during the celebrations.


Michelle and Brendan's contact book

Bride's dress and accessories
Chobham Bride

Bride's hair and make-up

Exceptional Flowers

Groom's suit

Amanda Duncan Photography

String quartet
Heart Strings

De Vere Venues Gorse Hill

Wedding rings
Swag Jeweller


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The Conservatory at the Luton Hoo Walled Garden
East Sussex National Golf Club
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